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Drought is declared in eight areas of England

Drought has been declared across vast swathes of England after a meeting of experts was conducted.

Prolonged dry conditions and some areas not receiving significant summer rainfall have forced the National Drought Group to declare an official drought in these regions.

Devon and Cornwall, Silent and South Downs, Kent and South London, Herts and north London, East Anglia, Thames, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire and the east Midlands have been declared in drought by the Environment Agency.

And the Environmental Agency expects to add two more areas into drought later this month: Yorkshire and the West Midlands.

The Agency had met earlier this summer to discuss the scarcity of rainfall and decided to put these regions in "prolonged dry weather status," one stage before the drought. Now the country is in its second stage.

According to many experts, the country may face water rationing, with fewer barriers for water companies who wish to ban customers from the house pipes and washing their cars with tap water. Even more severe measures can be imposed at this stage, including prohibiting the use of sprinklers for cleaning the buildings, vehicles and windows.

In this year so far, the house pipe bans have been imposed by the Southern Water and South East Water, while the Welsh authorities will impose a ban from 19th August, Yorkshire Water from 26th August, while the Thames water has also said that it is "ready to go" with the hose pipe ban.

Water minister Steve Double said, "We are currently experiencing a second heatwave after what was the driest July on record for the parts of the country. The government and other partners, including the Environment Agency, have already taken action to manage the impacts. All water companies have reassured us that the essential supplies are still safe, and we have made it clear it is their duty to maintain those supplies."

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